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Reaper. A label created by the Protheans to give voice to their destruction. In the end, what they choose to call us is irrelevant. We simply... are.
~ Sovereign
You represent chaos, we represent order. Every organic civilization must be harvested in order to bring order to the chaos. It is inevitable. Without our intervention, organics are doomed. We are your salvation.
~ A Destroyer to Shepard.

The Reapers, also known as the Old Machines by the Geth, are an ancient race of gigantic living spaceships and the main antagonists of the Mass Effect trilogy.

Initially thought to be a myth by most of the characters, the Reapers hibernate in "Dark Space" for thousands of years and then return to the galaxy every few millennia to destroy all the Milky Way's most advanced civilizations, most notably the "Protheans", who gave them the name "Reaper" once they stopped believing in devils. 


Before the cycles, our kind was the apex of life in the galaxy. The lesser species were in our thrall, serving our needs. We grew more powerful, and they were cared for. But we could not protect them from themselves. Over time, the species built machines that then destroyed them. Tribute does not flow from a dead race. To solve this problem, we created an intelligence with the mandate to preserve life at any cost. As the Intelligence evolved, it studied the development of civilizations. Its understanding grew until it found a solution. In that instant it betrayed us. It chose our kind as the first harvest. From our essence, the first Reaper was created. You call it Harbinger.
~ Leviathan explains the origin of the Reapers.


The Reapers are created by the Catalyst (the overarching antagonist of the original trilogy) who modelled them after the Leviathans. The first one was known as Harbinger. One Reaper was created after one cycle.

Powers and Abilities

The Reapers can gradually brainwash anyone who comes into prolonged contact with them, a process known as "indoctrination", and also to directly take complete control of an organism's body. It is also revealed that they were the ones who originally built the Citadel, the main base of galactic civilization, intended as a "trap" of sorts to attract a large number of advanced life forms together in one place.

Major Reapers

Before Mass Effect 3, exactly four Reapers are encountered in the series:

  • Sovereign: The main antagonist of the original Mass Effect (besides Saren Arterius as the secondary antagonist). Sovereign initially appears as Saren's flagship but is later revealed to be a vanguard of the Reapers who would initiate their eventual return to the galaxy by activating the mass relay at the Citadel for the other Reapers to enter through. However, Commander Shepard killed Saren and installed a defense program in the Citadel's mainframe, delaying Sovereign and allowing it to be destroyed by the Citadel fleet, preventing the return of the other Reapers for the time being.
  • Harbinger: The main antagonist of Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 (besides Illusive Man as the secondary antagonist), and leader of the Reaper fleet. It is the largest and oldest Reaper in existence and was the controlling force behind the "Collectors"; who were warped versions of the Protheans. It directly possesses the Collector General most of the time, and can also take control of any normal Collector at any time to fight Shepard. At the end of the game, it relinquishes the Collectors and is seen in its true Reaper form leading the other Reapers as they slowly travel towards Earth.
  • Derelict Reaper: A "dead" Reaper floating in space visited in Mass Effect 2, which holds vital research. Here, a friendly Geth named "Legion" is met. At the end of the mission, Shepard battles the Reaper's still-intact core protected by an army of Husks, after which the Reaper is destroyed completely.
  • "Human-Reaper": The final boss of Mass Effect 2, this monstrosity was a new, smaller, humanoid version of a Reaper being made by the Collectors, led by Harbinger, out of processed human DNA. It was discovered in the center of the Collectors' base by Shepard and friends and was destroyed before it could be completed.

Hundreds of currently unidentified Reapers are seen along with Harbinger in the ending sequence of Mass Effect 2 flying towards the inhabited Milky Way, who finally reach it in Mass Effect 3. In this final game, no full-sized Reapers are fought directly, though many do appear as background hazards and chase the Normandy during the space travel sequences. A few "mini–Reapers" known as Destroyers are fought, however.

Known Members


Indoctrinated Agents


Reaper Types

Reaperised Enemies


It seems you believed Protheans built the mass relays. The Reapers are cunning in their deception. Allowing life to flourish, century upon century, letting us believe ourselves the masters of the cosmos...Then the truth becomes known: there are monsters hiding in the dark spaces. And we are their prey.
~ Javik


           Masseffect logo.png Villains

Reapers and Servants
Sovereign | Harbinger | Human-Reaper Larvae | Saren Arterius | Matriarch Benezia | Collector General | Husks | Collectors

Illusive Man | Renegade Commander Shepard | Kai Leng | Oleg Petrovsky | Henry Lawson | Maya Brooks | Gavin Archer

Corrupt Party Members
Jack | Morinth

Villainous Organizations and Species
CAT6 | Geth | The Citadel Council | The Blood Pack | The Blue Suns | The Eclipse | The Archon

Mercenaries and other Criminals
Aria T'Loak | Captain Enyala | Clone | Doctor Saleon | Garm | Golo'Mekk vas Usela | Harkin | Jaroth | Jedore | Ka'hairal Balak | Nassana Dantius | Shadow Broker | Tarak | Tela Vasir | Vido Santiago | Warden Kuril

Other Villains
The Catalyst | Admiral Daro'Xen | Admiral Han'Gerrel vas Neema | Clan Chief Weyrloc Guld | Dalatrass Linron | Gatatog Uvenk | Maelon Heplorn | Ronald Taylor | Thorian | Urdnot Wreav